Mourning In America

A New York Democrat on politics, journalism, and the Mets

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Friday, May 02, 2003
At Least It Was Close: The Mets ended their streak of being routed yesterday, but the losing streak continued, as they dropped an extra-innings duel to the Cards, 6-5. But close might not be close enough, as this contribution from The Onion (forwarded by fellow blogger M.K.) shows:

"No Politics" at the WTC Site (cont'd) Real-estate developer Larry Silverstein let slip to the Daily News that "Governor" Pataki neglected to mention one other target date for the World Trade Center rebuilding when he gave his big speech to the Association for a Better New York last week:
Gov. Pataki apparently is planning to lay the cornerstone of the world's tallest building at Ground Zero during next year's Republican National Convention - an event President Bush would undoubtedly attend.

Thursday, May 01, 2003
Pay No Attention to the Message on the Curtain: This article has a nice juxtaposition that shows the Bush administration's effort to say one thing while doing another will continue in to the post-war period. The aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, from which Bush is scheduled to address the nation tonight, is carrying a huge banner that reads "Mission Accomplished." Directly alongside the photo is a cautionary statement that:
"Still, the president will carefully phrase his words so that he does not actually declare either victory or an end to war."

Apparently, "victory" wasn't the mission. Ari Fleischer clarifies that:
"This is a marked and important moment because ... the Iraqi people now have freedom. The threat to the United States has been removed," Fleischer said.

But unfortunately, the threat to United States soldiers remains quite real. I'd assume that once the President recovers from the adrenaline rush of his first carrier landing (perhaps if he had stayed in the Texas Air National Guard for his entire tour, he might have gained some experience with carrier ops), he'll offer some words of thanks for the sacrifices of the injured. I'd be interested in hearing his reactions to the deaths of the anti-American protesters. Perhaps something along the lines of: "With freedom of speech comes responsibility, and those protesters learned that their acts have consequences..."

This could explain a lot: Saudi Arabia Awakes to the Perils of Inbreeding

Tuesday, April 29, 2003
Fun with 'Search and Replace' Compare and contrast these criticisms of media coverage of the Middle East here and here (Hint: it's not a long exercise!)

Rashomon-alyst Amidst all the hand-wringing about pack journalism, you'd think that individual reporters and editors never make independent decisions. You'd be wrong. Take a look at how three major East Coast papers treated the Monday-morning leaks about the global settlement between state attorneys general and Wall Street over conflicted and often misleading stock research:

The Wall Street Journal focused on the personal, leading with the news that ex-Merrill Lynch analyst Henry Blodgett (he of $400 price target fame) would pay $4 million.

The NY Times, on the other hand, linked Blodgett with Citigroup's Jack Grubman (who was advising WorldCom chief Bernie Ebbers on the side), but de-personalized the headline to read: "Analysts to Pay Millions in Fines."

The Boston Globe went in another (and, frankly, more interesting) direction altogether, concentrating on what the settlement would mean for individual investors (not much!).

This clash of styles was on readily on display in Boston, where local and out-of-town newspapers shared space on most streetcorners (including, surprisingly, the almost-ubiquitous New York Daily News). You rarely, if ever, see the same interplay in New York, where the local combatants monopolize the newsstands...

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Bye-Bye .500 dreams Ah, there's so much to complain about on a day when the Mets' bats (a record 27 Ks) and gloves (8 errors) missed their wake-up calls in a doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks. But here's one what-might have been: What if Manager Art Howe had swapped the pitching order?

Coming into the weekend, the Mets' ace, Tom Glavine, was slated to face Brandon Webb, a rookie making his first major-league start, on Saturday, while fifth starter Jae Seo was thrown to the lions against Randy Johnson, who was returning from the DL.

But after Saturday's rainout, Howe could have juggled the order to have Glavine match up with Johnson in the nightcap, rather than leaving things as they were. You have to wonder whether the Mets position players saw their ace taking on a rookie in the first game and thought they could phone it in -- breeding the sloppy play that cost them the first game and spilled over into the nightcap.


What is it with NY Politicians and Airplanes? A door blew open on a charter flight carrying Sen. Charles Schumer to Binghamton last week. Despite a windy final approach, everyone got down fine.

The incident calls to mind earlier hairy plane rides by both Andrew Cuomo and his father, Governor Mario Cuomo (both recounted here in a 2000 NY Observer article (third item)). Both the father and son seemed to make the most of the incidents -- by producing memorable quotes!

There's also one report of an emergency landing involving "Governor" Pataki in 1997 (you can buy it in the NY Times archives here, but you can also take my word for it). The only surprising thing there was that Pataki was flying at all, having pledged in his 1994 campaign to sell the Governor's plane (a 24-year-old model that was known for emergency landings, including this one (via Proquest -- library card required) involving former Lt. Gov. Stan Lundine).

He did sell the old rattletrap that Cuomo used, but then restocked the state air force, which now boasts two helicopters and two planes. When that's not sufficient, he hasn't been shy about chartering others.